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New-look SA aim for redemption after ODI debacle

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Pathan: India favourites to win the first T20I (3:56)

Irfan Pathan previews the first T20I between South Africa and India (3:56)

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A tour of two halves now reaches its bonus add-on: three T20s in a week, played as double-headers with the same women's teams of these two nations, who are in completely contrasting moods.

India are on a high. Led by a captain that is considered among the best players not just of his generation, but ever, they have won a bilateral series in South Africa for the first time. In so doing, they have also humiliated the hosts and derailed their plans for "Vision 2019". South Africa can only accept that they have been dealt "a good hiding", and will spend the T20 series skulking away, with most of their big names absent and their egos bruised.

South Africa's experimental squad is mostly a result of timing. They start a four-Test series against Australia five days after the last T20 and have rested all but AB de Villiers from the T20s. It's fair to say their focus will be elsewhere and expectations from these three matches will be quite low.

JP Duminy, who was overlooked for the ODI captaincy, will lead the T20 outfit, as he has done five times before. Duminy has a win-loss record of 3-2 with a series win over Bangladesh and a loss against Australia to his name. Though his chances of captaining much in future are slim, Duminy will still want to make a good impression against India, who are intent on dominating.

Since winning the Wanderers Test, India's only missed step was falling short in the rain-affected ODI at the same venue. On their return for the final time this summer, they will want to show just how much they enjoy this stadium and thrive being on top. Expect nothing less than a ruthless display.

Form guide

(last five completed matches, most recent first)
South Africa: WWLWL
India: WWWWL

In the spotlight

Farhaan Behardien was considered hard done by after he was initially left out of the one-day squad despite being among the domestic competition's top performers. He then seemed harder done by when he only got to play one game, by which time the series was lost. It didn't help that he lasted just five balls and was dismissed for 1. Behardien should have a much greater role in the T20s, as one of the senior-most batsman in the squad, and could use it as an opportunity to show his value across white-ball formats.

India's senior statesman MS Dhoni did not have enough time at the crease to bring up 10,000 ODI runs and now needs to turn his attention to not needing time. Dhoni's slow starts in T20s, especially given his position in the middle order, have now become a cause for concern and he will need to fire quickly to re-establish himself as the finisher.

Team news

An experimental South African side could see as many as three new caps with wicketkeeper Heinrich Klaasen guaranteed a start and middle-order batsman Christiaan Jonker and seamer Junior Dala in the mix. South Africa's experience is sandwiched between an inexperienced opening pair in Reeza Hendricks and Jon-Jon Smuts and a younger middle-to-lower order and tail.

South Africa: 1 Reeza Hendricks, 2 Jon-Jon Smuts, 3 AB de Villiers, 4 JP Duminy (capt), 5 David Miller/Farhaan Behardien, 6 Heinrich Klaasen (wk), 7 Christiaan Jonker/Chris Morris, 8 Andile Phehlukwayo, 9 Junior Dala, 10 Dane Paterson, 11 Aaron Phangiso

India's big decision will be in the middle order, where they are likely to have a choice between Suresh Raina - who has been selected in India's squad after a long absence - and Manish Pandey.

India: 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 Manish Pandey/Dinesh Karthik, 5 Suresh Raina, 6 MS Dhoni (wk), 7 Hardik Pandya, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Jasprit Bumrah, 10 Kuldeep Yadav, 11 Yuzvendra Chahal

Pitch and conditions

The Wanderers' demerit points haven't gone anywhere but as long as the surface is similar to the one the ODI was played on, it should be another batsman-friendly pitch and fast outfield, which should lead to a high-scoring game. Afternoon thundershowers are forecast but should be nothing more than a quick burst.

Stats and trivia

  • India have a 6-2 record against South Africa in all T20Is.

  • South Africa have played exactly 100 T20Is, winning 59 and losing 40.

  • Virat Kohli is 43 runs away from becoming the first Indian batsman to reach 2000 T20I runs.